European Culture Route Fortified Monuments - FORTE CULTURA®

Dubrovnik Croatia

Fortress-Pearl of the Adriatic

City fortification of the ancient Sea-Republic Ragusa

Dubrovnik is as 'Pearl of the Adriatic' one of the most outstanding tourist destinations on the Mediterranean coasts. In addition to the picturesque old town, it is above all the ubiquitous city fortification that remains in memory. For example, a walk along the 2 km long city- and fortress walls of Dubrovnik is one of the highlights for millions of visitors every year.

That this is possible today is not self-evident. Since the first Illyrian settlement in the 3rd century and the first Roman fortification in the 6th century, there has been competition and warfare over the coveted location. A severe earthquake shook the region in 1667, leaving only the city walls and some Renaissance buildings in Dubrovnik. And most recently, in the 1991-1995 Croatian War, during a nine-month siege, about two-thirds of the as UNESCO's World Heritage listed old town, were destroyed by shells.

Much of it has been rebuilt and is accessible to tourists. Learn with FORTE CULTURA® more about the exciting history of Dubrovnik, which is closely linked to the legendary Sea-Republic of Ragusa and is based, among other things, on trade and seafaring in competition with the Republic of Venice.

Discover the unique city fortification of Dubrovnik with bastions, gates and fortresses in the fortress, some of which gained worldwide fame as the backdrop of the successful fantasy TV series "Game of Thrones" .

Experience World

Minčeta Fortress


Northwest to the countryside of Dubrovnik is the Minčeta fortress. It is named after the Ragusan aristocracy family Minčetic. In 1319 Nikifor Ranjina first designed and built a tower with a square floor plan, later modified by Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi in its present form. The Minčeta Tower is the highest elevation of the city wall and landmark of Dubrovnik.
Tip: Below the Minčeta fortress is the Gornji Ugao Tower. In addition to the casemates of Minčeta, the archaeological site of a historic foundry can also be admired here. The entrance and the guided tour of this exhibition are included in the ticket price of the Minčeta fortress.
Address: Ul. Iza Grada, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Pile Gate


The Pile Gate is the main gate in the west of the fortress city of Dubrovnik. It consists of an inner gate of 14th Century and the outer gate of 1537. The former drawbridge between the two gates is now replaced by a stone bridge. The patron saint Sveti Vlaho (St. Blaise) also protects this access to the city from both sides.
If you walk through the gates you will be right on the Stradun, the pedestrian zone of the historic old town. The access is barrier-free.

Pile Brsalije 5
T 020 / 312-011
daily 8:00 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Fort Bokar


The semi circled bastion protected the seaside of Dubrovnik in the west. It was founded in the15th century, built according to a design by Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi from Florence. He was the main architect of the Medici. Fort Bokar is a casemated fortress and probably the oldest surviving defensive tower in Europe.

Saint Petar


Sveti Petar is part of the historic city wall and is halfway between Fort Bokar and Sveti Ivan Fortress. The café “SV. Petar ”with a beautiful view of the city, the sea and the offshore islands is situated on wall’s top. A popular stopover on the circular route on the city wall.

Bastion Margarita


In 1571, the Margarita Bastion was built by the reconstruction of a former tower. The Church of St Margaret is situated there. This oldest church has one nave and a rectangular apse, although it was built during the Renaissance period. Services are no longer held in this church.

Bastions Saint Stjepan and Saint Spasitelj


These bastions are also stopovers on the Dubrovnik city wall round way. Saint Stjepan was built from 1658 to 1660 and Saint Spasitelj short before from 1647 to 1657.
Saint Spasitelj, offers also a café and a magnificent view over the sea to Lokrum as well as over the Buza beach.

Saint Ivan Fortress (St. John) early tower Mula


In defence of the city harbour, the fortress of Saint Ivan (called also Saint John) was built.
At first, a chain protected the harbour, stretched by the Mula tower (14th century) to the tower St. Luka. During the extension to the fortress St. Ivan, the harbour also received a fixed fortification to protect against aggressors and the flood. The architect was Paskoje Miličević Mihov. He was given the fortress its semi-circular form in the 16thcentury.
The fortress Ivan is today home of the aquarium on the 1st floor and the Maritime Museum of Dubrovnik on the 2nd and 3rd floor. While below the colourful underwater world enlivens the fortress walls, above exhibitions on cartography, shipbuilding and maritime art with numerous historical nautical exhibits complete the experience in the St. John fortress. Museum and aquarium have different entrances. A ticket authorizes the visit of both institutions.

Saint Luka Tower


Saint Luka tower is situated on the harbour across from Saint Ivan Fortress with the Mula tower. Once a chain, stretched from Tower Luka to Tower Mula, secured the harbour access. In 1467, Paskoje Miličević designed this wall with cannon embrasures for the former old Saint Luka tower. Also, the breakwater (Kaše) he designed and thus he secured the harbour against enemies and forces of nature.
The tower of St. Luka now houses a gallery and is part of the Saint Ivan Fortress.

Revelin Fortress


Revelin Fortress is a ravelin on the northeast corner of the fortress city of Dubrovnik, which was protect the Ploče gate.
Built in 1463 outside the city walls, the fort was expanded in 1538 by Antonio Ferramolino di Bergamo and additionally fortified.
In the past, the terraces of the ravelin were reserved for the Ivan Rabljanin cannon foundry and the defence. Today they offer space for a lot of culture and the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. There is also a permanent archaeological exhibition and a popular nightclub in the Revelin fortress
Adress: Ul. Svetog Dominika 3,20000, Dubrovnik,Croatia

Ploče-Gate and Fortress Asimon


1450 - construction of the outer gate of the city gate of Ploče by Simeon della Cava. The 15th-century gate consists of an inner and an outer gate connected by a stone bridge. It forms the easternmost point of the city wall and must be passed to get from the city walls to the beaches. Dubrovnik's patron Saint Vlaho (St. Blasius) watches over his city above the gate.
The triangular Asimon Fortress towers over the Ploče Gate on the inside of the city. It was built at a very early stage in order to integrate the adjacent Dominican monastery into the city wall.

Fortress Lovrijenac (St. Lorence Fortress)


The limestone fortress is located outside the city walls on a 37m high rock. It protected the west of the old town from the land and the water side. Lovrijenac is also called the Gibraltar of Dubrovnik. It was built in the 14th and 15th century. After the earthquake of 1667, reconstructions have been performed. The 10 cannons, including the Guster Cannon, a masterpiece of the gun foundry Ivan Rabljanin, defended fortress and city. Above the entrance gate is the message 'Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro' - 'not for all the gold of the world is freedom to sell'.
In order to be sure of the loyalty of the fortress crew and their commander, only rations were received from the city for 30 days each.
A current combined ticket for the visit of the city walls also allows you to visit St. Lorenz Fortress. The breath-taking view above the sea and the fortifications compensates for the much stair-steps, which must be climbed during the visit.
During the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Lovrijenac becomes a spectacular stage for performances such as Shakespeare's "Hamlet".
Adress: Ul. od Tabakarije 29, 20000 Dubrovnik, +385 20 638 800

Northern city wall


The northern city wall stretches for about 280 meters between Asimov Fortress and Minčeta Fortress.
It is reinforced by the Bastion St. Jakov, the fortified towers St. Vid, St. Lucija, St. Barbara and a fourth tower, where the Buža gate leads into the city.

Buža Gate


In 1907, under the Austrian-Hungarian rule, the Gate was built into the mighty city walls. Austrian officers were thus able to reach their tennis courts in the fortress. The Pile Tower and the Fish Market Tower will also be demolished under this command.
The gate is also accessible by car, access to the old town is not barrier free for the reason of many stairs.
The Dubrovnik cable car can be reached very quickly via the Buža Gate. It leads from the old town to the local mountain Brdo Srd and offers a spectacular view from above into the old town.

Arsenal (Orsan) and Ponte-Gate


The oldest part of the city wall is the arsenal (Orsan) from the 7th century. The arsenal was expanded several times and was fortified in 1345. In the city wall west of the Arsenal towards St. Ivan is another city gate, the Ponte Gate (1476).
Today the Arsenal houses the Gradska Kavana restaurant.

Fish Market Gate/ Peskarija Gate/ RibarniceGate


The Gothic-style fish market gate of 1381 is in the harbour, on the city walls, east of the Great Arsenal. Also, over this gate St. Blasius is watching over the city. Until the 19th century, the square in front of the gate was the site of a lively trade in the fruits of the sea. After the restoration of the Ribarice district, this tradition should revive again.

Knesev dvor - Rector's Palace


The Neapolitan master builder Onofrio di Giordano della Cava was commissioned to build the palace on the ruins of old fortress walls. Through explosions, fires and earthquakes and reconstruction, the originally Gothic palace also bears features of the Baroque and Renaissance.
In the Rector's Palace - Knežev dvor - is the former seat of the State Administration of the Republic of Ragusa. The Small Council (Consilium Minus) and the Senate (Consilium Rogatorum) resided here from the 14th century until 1808. He was also the residence of the rector of the city who was in office for one month (chairman of the Small Council). The Rector's Palace was also the armoury, powder magazine, guard and prison of the city.
Today, the Rector's Palace houses the Cultural History Museum as part of Dubrovnik's museums in its magnificent rooms.
Pred Dvorom Museum of Cultural History 3, 20 000 Dubrovnik,Croatia
Tel. +385 (0)20 321 422, +385(0)20 324 837 Fax. +385(0)20 322 096

Fort Imperial (1806-1810)


The Napoleonic Fort on Dubrovnik's local mountain Srđ was built under the direction of the French general Auguste Marmot.
The cable car takes you from the historic old town directly to the Imperial Fortress, which today houses a permanent exhibition on the Yugoslavia war (1991-1995).
The fighting of this war also affected this fort and historic Dubrovnik. The traces are unmistakable.

Fort Royal (1806)


The Fort Royal is a Napoleonic fort on the today nature protected island of Lokrum in front of Dubrovnik. Fort Royal and Fort Imperial were created at the time of the siege and occupation of the city of Dubrovnik by the French from 1806.
As a result, the dissolution of the Republic of Ragusa was proclaimed in 1808 and Marshal Marmont was named by Napoleon as Duke of the new French province of Ragusa.
In the 19th century, the Austrians added the "Maximilian" tower to the Fort Royal.
The original Iron Throne of the "Game of Thrones" filming and an old Benedictine monastery with a beautiful garden are also on the island of Lokrum.
Lokrum Reserve/Office
Od Bosanke 4
20 000 Dubrovnik
+385 20 640 686

Tour Offers and Information

City Walls & Old Town Walking Tour

City Walls & Old Town Walking Tour - Outstanding, Impressive, Intimidating Dubrovnik’s city walls.


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Monument and History


Dubrovnik was founded on an island off the Dalmatian coast by Romanesque refugees from the destroyed nearby town of Epidaurum. A wall, today the Stradun shopping boulevard, connected the island of Ragusa with the Slavic settlement on the mainland from the end of the 11th century. In the 12th century the city became independent, in the 14th century it even became an autonomous city-state, the Republic of Ragusa (Croatian: Dubrovačka Republika). Thanks to the skillful diplomacy of the nobility, the maritime republic developed prosperity, an advanced welfare state and lively trade relations. The city became a liberal hub between east and west and a point of contact for caravans and ships. The wealthy patrician families provided heads of several principalities in the city. The heyday of the republic was the 15th and 16th centuries. The model, but also rival Ragusas, was for a long time the Republic of Venice. Its wealth and the strategically favorable location of the city have repeatedly led to sieges and the massive expansion of its defense systems, which are still impressive today.The relocation of other nations' trade routes and a severe earthquake in 1667 led to an increasing loss of meaning. It was not until 1806 that Napoleon's army ended the almost 500-year history of the Republic of Ragusa. This was finally abolished in 1808. In 1815, after the Austrian siege, Dubrovnik fell to the crown land of Dalmatia in the Austrian Empire. From 1918 Dubrovnik belonged to Yugoslavia and from 1945 officially to the Republic of Croatia of Yugoslavia. Dubrovnik became a main destination for Adriatic tourists. The massive structural destruction of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Dubrovnik in the Croatian War (1991-1995) was largely remedied. Today Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic” is the cultural and tourist attraction of the region.

Quelle: Ragusa Map
Quelle: (Public domain)


The fortification of the city was essentially in three stages. The first city fortification took place in the 8th century and was able to withstand the attack of the Saracens.
In the 14th century, the expansion of the city wall with a total of 15 square towers, the city moat, and the outwork were further expanded. In order to remedy the ongoing Venetian threat, the fortifications were expanded until the 17th century. A upstream second wall to the mainland was equipped with one large and nine smaller semicircular bastions. The Minčeta, Sveti Ivan and Bokar fortresses were built as part of the city walls and the Revelin and Lovrijenac fortresses were used to defend the city. The city suffered severe damage from an earthquake in 1667, unique Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains of the city were fortunately preserved.

The forts Imperial (Mountain Srd) and Royal (Lokrum Island) were built from 1806-1810 under Napoleonic direction. The Austrians later modified the fortifications, for example by building the Maximilian Tower in Fort Royal or, for practical reasons, creating new gates in the city walls.

Damaged again by armed conflicts in the 1990s, Dubrovnik, which has been under UNESCO protection since 1979, was removed from the list of endangered world heritage in 1998 as part of a restoration program.

Quelle: Walls of Dubrovnik
Quelle: Fort Royal Lokrum

Nature Experience

Lokrum Island is 630 meters from the old town of Dubrovnik and is a nature reserve with dense Mediterranean vegetation that can be reached by ferry and boat. In addition, this quiet oasis attracts with a botanical garden, a monastery ruin, a bar and attractive bathing opportunities. The French Fort Royal (1806) is located on the highest point on the island and offers an overwhelming view.Website Lokrum
The colourful underwater world of the Adriatic can be experienced in the Dubrovnik Aquarium, operated by the University of Dubrovnik in the St. Ivan Fortress.
Dubrovnik's coast is also a snorkelling paradise. Bathing and water sports enthusiasts get their money's worth on the various beaches of the city. The pebble beach of the Lapad peninsula is very family-friendly and offers various water sports activities and a wheelchair lift into the sea. Buza beach offers bathing fun directly on the fortress backdrop of the city. A kayak can also be used to explore areas of the spectacular, rugged rocky coastline of Dubrovnik that are not accessible from land.

Quelle: Adventure Dalmatia
Quelle: Foto Dennis Jarvis
Quelle: ©